Individual liberty, freedom, and equal rights…these were the intentions of angry French citizens as they stormed the Bastille, the much hated prison built by King Louis the Sixteenth. This was July 14, 1789, an independence day, the one that set the stage for a better life. It was the beginning of a new sense of nationalism and helped carve out the current government of France. Like the July 4th holiday celebrated each year in the United States, the storming of the Bastille marked a new course for independence and freedom.
We all love fireworks and a parade, and the oldest and largest military parade in Europe is held on the morning of July 14th, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris. It is witnessed by thousands of French citizens as they march along the parade route, culminating in front of the President of the Republic, French officials and foreign diplomats. It is an honored tradition that is not only present in Paris, but in over fifty United States’ cities as well.
Whether you’re in the French Quarter in New Orleans, discovering decadent French pastries and other gourmet delights, or in Washington DC or New York City, you’ll find those who embrace freedom even yet and celebrate Bastille Day.
This year you too can become part of the parade, flying the French flag, singing the French National Anthem or simply having friends over for a bit of champagne and some French cuisine. Perhaps a collection of French artworks or street performers would make your festivities even more authentic.
However you choose to celebrate, it is always heartwarming to consider the gifts of freedom that others gave their lives to establish and protect. The leaders of these revolutions made it possible for all of us to taste real individual freedom and humanity. It’s always good to knock down the doors of oppression and open the windows of real liberty. Isn’t it time for some delectable éclairs, Cherie?